Start Right Social Skills is an early intervention program for children in kindergarten who are having difficulty adjusting to the everyday demands of their regular classroom. The program is offered in partnership with the Toronto District School Board and is available in over 20 schools across Toronto.
Supported by United Way Toronto “Success by 6” funding, the 10-week program provides special “play and learn” sessions during school hours in groups of three to five children. By providing structured opportunities for healthy social, emotional and behavioural learning, children develop the confidence and skills to deal more effectively with challenges in the classroom, playground and at home. The primary program goal is to improve the social skills and future performance of young children. The program also incorporates SNAP® (Stop Now and Plan), CDI’s self-control and problem solving model, to address early signs of possible behavioural or social issues.
Children are referred to this program by teachers and other school staff. Funding for this program is provided by United Way Toronto, and the Ontario Ministries of Community and Social Services, Child and Youth Services, and Education.
The School Treatment Program (Section 23) provides three therapeutically-based classrooms and treatment programs. There are two classrooms for kindergarten-aged children (3½ to 6), and one classroom for students ages 6-11. In both programs, students are referred because they are exhibiting emotional, social and behavioural challenges and are unable to manage in the mainstream educational system. A cognitive behavioural model and SNAP® strategies are used to help students better manage their behaviour and emotions. Students are taught using Individual Education Plans (IEP) which incorporate goals that include behavioural expectations.
The kindergarten classrooms provide a structured setting that helps children manage impulsivity and emotions, develop basic social and school-readiness skills and enhance self-esteem and awareness of themselves and others. Children are referred to this program from a variety of sources including parents, schools and child care centres. The classrooms are run in partnership with the Toronto District School Board and are located at Charles G. Fraser Public School.
The classroom for students ages 6-11 provides a modified special education environment for children with severe behavioural, social and emotional challenges who are unable to function in a community school setting. Students learn how to model pro-social values, acquire general knowledge and improve their social skills. Spaces in the program are prioritized for clients in CDI’s Intensive Community and Home Services Program, and children are typically referred to the program through Toronto’s Centralized Access to Residential Services (CARS). The classroom is located at CDI’s St. Clair Gardens location, and it is run in partnership with the Toronto Catholic District School Board.
The programs utilize a multi-disciplinary team made up of special education teachers, child and youth workers, an educational assistant, a family counsellor and consultants as needed, including a speech and language pathologist, a psychologist and a psychiatrist. The average stay in the program is one to two years, and the desired overall outcome is for the student to be re-integrated into a community school (regular and special education).
SNAP for Schools (SNAP-S) is based on SNAP, CDI’s award-winning early intervention model. This well-developed program is delivered to students ages 6-11, focusing on developing SNAP skills to promote a positive change in behavior. The 13-week in-class program covers topics such as managing anger, handling group/peer pressure and dealing with bullying. The program also offers classroom interventions for all students who will benefit from the universal skills learned in the SNAP classroom sessions.
The ACT & ADAPT program is a group program for students in grades five to eight who are experiencing challenges managing their mood. Throughout the 12-week program children meet weekly in small groups during class time to discuss topics such as solving problems, making time for fun, and identifying and changing negative thoughts.
FRIENDS for Life is a 10-week program for children ages 6-11 years. It can be run in small groups or within the whole classroom, and covers topics such as self-esteem, problem-solving and self-expression. The focus is on helping students learn skills to cope with stress and to build emotional resilience.
CDI’s Child and Community Workers, work alongside administration staff and school Social Workers to co-facilitate these programs.
Children are referred to these programs by teachers, social workers and other school staff. The programs are run in partnership with the Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Catholic District School Board.